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Recruiting Strategies: Start with the Job’s Competencies

Recruiting Strategies: Start with the Job’s Competencies

By: David P. Jones, Ph.D., author of Million-Dollar Hire: Building Your Bottom Line, One Employee at a Time

Ask companies what they seek in their new hires and the answers can be pretty vague -- “great technical skills,” “a real people person” or “a good work attitude.” In reality, such generalities do little to predict the candidate’s future job performance.

As the job market gains steam, businesses need to make new hires count as part of their recruitment strategy -- and better recruitment strategies start with knowing what you need.

Matching the right candidate to the job starts with profiling the employee’s skills to separate top performers from the rest -- while avoiding common hiring mistakes.

Use four basic “buckets” of competencies to create a successful hiring process from employee sourcing and recruiting, through pre-screening, assessing the candidate’s skills and final decision-making.

In a sense, such a profile lays out a roadmap for everything that follows; it even helps you maintain a legal hiring process -- particularly when deciding whom not to hire.

While one of these “buckets” might be more applicable for senior level jobs, another might be most relevant for professional, sales or labor-level positions:

• Most jobs require a variety of “Can Do” competencies. These range from skill at “Creating a Strategic Vision” or “Implementing Organizational Change” at senior levels, to ones like “Learning and Applying New Job Skills” and “Analyzing Information Efficiently” in technical or skilled operating roles. Simply put, identifying the most critical job competencies will help you identify candidates who “Can Do” the job.

• Most jobs also require a variety of “Will Do” competencies. Companies need employees with more than the “smarts” that a job demands. This second employee competency bucket includes employee motivation, values and preferences that support the hiring profile. Qualities such as “Driving for Results” or “Showing Emotional Maturity” at senior levels, or willingness toward “Adapting to Change” or “Showing Concern for Quality” at lower levels, help ensure that the candidate will actually put his or her “Can Do” competencies to work.

• Some jobs require “Able To” competencies, too. While advancements in engineering are reducing the physical demands that come with many of today’s jobs, some profiles still show job competencies such as “Strength and Stamina,” “Flexibility and Coordination” or “Dexterity and Precision” to execute work effectively.

• Finally, many jobs require “Done That” competencies. Finally, many job descriptions show competency profiles that stress past experience, accomplishments, or certain training, credentials or licenses. Here, the profile of Can Do, Will Do and Able To competencies grows to include specific background and experiences.

In Million-Dollar Hire, I discuss how profiling a job’s skills and competency requirements in each of the four buckets produces a list of the factors that drive employee sourcing, initial screening and a full-scale assessment of candidates’ qualifications. 

Today’s technology solutions can scan a job description’s competency profile, and then review resumes that best match the profile. Technology is also interview protocols that incorporate a given competency profile, so recruiters and hiring managers can zone in on questions that provide the best match to the job’s competencies.

I’ve posted a sample directory of competencies that link to most major occupational groups online. Creating competency models unique to a given employer has been historically a fairly costly process. Using the prototypes provided here, most employers can take on the job of final refinements to customize their own competency profiles.

Knowing what it takes to accomplish the job, and what job competencies ensure that your the new hire is a good fit for your company culture, an employee to retain long-term, is key to faster, better and cheaper hiring. 

Author Bio:
David P. Jones
, Ph.D., author of Million-Dollar Hire: Building Your Bottom Line, One Employee at a Time (Jossey-Bass, April 2011), is among the few HR strategists to found and develop a major business enterprise. He is the president of Growth Ventures Inc., a human capital advisory firm. Jones has worked as an organizational psychologist for over thirty years and launched HRStrategies, an international human resources consulting and outsourcing firm recognized as one of the fastest-growing consulting companies in the US prior to its acquisition by Aon Corporation.

For more information, visit Million Dollar Hire.